HINEINI (Hebrew for ‘Here I am’) chronicles the story of one student’s courageous fight to establish a Gay-Straight Alliance at a Jewish high school and the transformative impact of her campaign on her entire community.
Longing to connect more deeply with her Jewish identity, Shulamit Izen enters 9th grade at The New Jewish High School (now Gann Academy) in Waltham, Massachusetts. She also starts school as an out lesbian.
Using interviews with Shulamit, her family, teachers, and other students – both those who support her campaign and those who oppose it – the film allows the members of this community to tell their own stories. What emerges is a potent and inspiring story of Jewish pluralism and a community navigating the cross-currents of Jewish tradition and social change.
Beyond the struggle to create a supportive environment for gay and lesbian students and teachers at the school, this is the story of a community wrestling with the very definition of pluralism and diversity in a Jewish context.
From sanctifying same-sex marriages to ordaining gay rabbis, discussions of GLBT identity and inclusion are taking place across the Jewish religious spectrum. Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School offers a vital new framework in which to understand these issues and a powerful catalyst for discussion and dialogue in all communities.
Running time: 60 minutes, plus extras.